Operating the Mobile Station in the 2012 CQWW Contest

The mobile station in operation on Saturday afternoon.

Normally, my weekend amateur radio activity is hunting for special event stations but this weekend was a bit different.  This weekend was the CQ World Wide DX Contest (CQWW) and it is one of the contests that swamp the bands.  Since there was little chance of finding any special event stations, I took advantage of the contest weekend to add some DX stations to the logbook.  Since I’m in Brunswick, it was a mobile operation which is quite difficult in contests like this.  100 watts through a 5 foot tall antenna has trouble competing against stations with amplifiers and antenna arrays.  The trick is finding the right times during the contests and finding stations that don’t have huge pileups.  The best time to operate as a mobile or low power station is late in the contest when all the big stations have worked each other and they’re looking for anyone for points.

I operated for about an hour and a half on Saturday afternoon on 10 and 15 Meters and for about the same time on Sunday afternoon on 10 and 15 Meters.  20 Meters was just too congested on both afternoons for the mobile station to bust through.  10 Meters was in very good condition over the weekend and that’s where the majority of my contacts came from.  I heard far more stations than I was able to work and I’m sure that those from home stations or contest stations hit the jackpot on 10 Meters. I’ve always found 15 Meters easier to work during DX contests with the mobile station and this one was no different; it was much less congested than 20 Meters was, making it much easier to get through.  Over the three total hours I worked 37 different stations from 15 different countries/DX entities.  My main goal in operating during the contest was not to collect points or compete in the contest but to pick up some new DX entities and in that I succeeded. Of those 15 countries/entities, 5 were new to the mobile logbook:  Alaska (twice on 10 Meters), French Guiana, Gambia, Luxembourg, and Morocco.  Additionally, I worked a new island for the logbook:  Mallorca and a new Canadian province for the logbook:  Yukon Territories; both of those were new for me from either the home or the mobile station.

On Sunday morning, I made a brief attempt at working 40 Meters but I only logged one station.  Unfortunately the ugly side of amateur radio reared its ugly head and discouraged me from trying any further the rest of the morning.  As I tuned across 7.200 MHz, I heard two stations competing to use the same frequency; a DX station was making contest calls and a US station sounded like it was trying to call a net roll call.  The DX station wanted the US station to QSY (move to another frequency) and the US station refused to do so.  This prompted the DX station to reply with a “F*** You Man.”   I don’t know who was on frequency first and I really don’t care.  There was plenty of open space above 7.200 and either one could have moved if they’d been willing to act like adults; instead it turned into a manhood measuring contest as each station attempted to call over the other.  The profanity was the worst part and something that US stations are frequently blamed for; it just goes to prove there are DX stations to blame for the lack of civility on the air as well.  Most infuriating were the stations that heard what the DX station said and continued to answer his calls and give him contest points!  Amateur Radio is supposed to be self policing; it doesn’t work if you hear that kind of operating yet reward the offender for it!

Sunday morning aside, I still enjoyed my time on the air over the weekend.  It was (for the most part ) fun and productive.  I never cease to be amazed at what the FT-897 and HVT-400B (mobile antenna) can do.  As I mentioned on Twitter and Facebook a couple of times:  “Not bad for 100 watts and a 5 foot antenna.”

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